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US Republicans Using Weapons of Mass Financial Destruction

Obstructed BudgetThere will be a lot of rubbish in Washington over the next few days.  And, that rubbish is not only the garbage that is steadily piling up in the nation’s capital because of the government’s shut down. 

It is also the quality of the Republican Party’s argument for refusing to pass a Budget that would allow the federal government to provide goods and services to the public. 

While the Republicans have obstructed Budgets before - notably in late 1995 and early 1996 when Bill Clinton was President - there is more than a little racism toward this first non-White American President by the right wing Tea Party element even though they have not dared to say so. 


The Republican intent in refusing to adopt the government’s budget is to sabotage the Affordable Care Act – President Obama’s health programme that would give coverage to all – that has been labelled “Obamacare”.  Incidentally, there have already been over 30 attempts to stop it. 

What the Republicans are doing is nothing short of blackmail – in more ways than one.   So far, President Obama has stood-up to it.  But, this battle looks as if it will persist, bringing hardship to many and even threats to the security of the country. 

Those issues have been well detailed in the international media and no purpose would be served by rehearsing them here.  It is with the international impact that this commentary is concerned. 

The impact of the government shutdown on the US economy, which is still the world’s largest economy, will be felt worldwide.  For instance, with over 800,000 federal government workers not being paid and hundreds of contracts to the private sector not being honoured, there will be fewer people thinking of holidays and this will affect tourism, including to Caribbean destinations that rely heavily on US tourists.  

Caribbean countries will also suffer from a decline in remittances from many of their migrants who either work directly for the federal government or are employed by private firms that provide services for the government. 

Official development assistance from the US to developing countries is also now suspended until a budget is passed and government spending can resume. 

A great part of the world, therefore, has a keen interest in the high-stakes poker game being played out between President Obama and the Democratic Party on the one-hand and the Republicans pressured by their right-wing Tea Party faction on the other. 

The government shutdown is one issue but the more serious problem is raising America’s debt ceiling from its current level of $16.7 trillion.  By October 17, the US Congress must raise the debt ceiling or the US will default on payments of its debts.   The mere prospect of such a default has already adversely affected the global stock market. An actual default would bring into question whether the US dollar should be retained as the world’s main reserve currency and it would certainly compromise its value. 

Many countries – including the majority in the Caribbean – have tied the exchange rate of their currencies to the US dollar.  Therefore, if the value of the US dollar declines in the wake of a default on debt repayment, there will be an automatic devaluation of those currencies that are tied to the US.  If countries have debts or trading arrangements that are denominated in other currencies, say the Chinese Yuan, the size of their payments will rise in equivalence to the decline in value of the US dollar. At the end of September, the Yuan’s value was up against the dollar for nine consecutive weeks. 

For some small countries – particularly those in the Caribbean that are already highly indebted – this development will increase their debt burden and gravely challenge their capacity to avoid default themselves. 

The truth of the matter is that these fights in Washington are presented as disputes over the budget and the debt ceiling but they are really about next year’s mid-term elections.  The Republicans are determined to weaken President Obama and to lay the blame for the government shutdown squarely at his feet in the hope that the electorate will vote against the Democratic Party.  If the Republicans can also force Obama to abandon his signature health care Act, they will claim a massive victory and a major humiliation of a President whose face they have long wanted to grind into the dust. 


On the two previous occasions (this is the third year in a row) when the debate over raising the debt ceiling has raged, it was President Obama who made concessions.  This is obviously seen as a sign of weakness by his Republican opponents who will push him to the wall again over raising the debt ceiling even if the budget issue is resolved by October 17.  

In all this, the Republicans have done the United States no good.  Within America, government services have halted, hundreds of thousands are living lives of uncertainty with no pay packet, and there is widespread dissatisfaction and frustration.  From outside, the US governmental system looks dysfunctional and weak.  Its reputation as a model to be adopted is now fractured and confidence in its global leadership has been severely undermined.  No one in the US has gained from the antics of Republican Party representatives in Congress, not even the far-right Tea Party who can claim no benefit for America. 

Dysfunctional government occurs elsewhere in the world including in the Caribbean but, for the most part, the countries involved are too inconsequential to impact the global economy.  Not so with the United States which, however the present debacle unfolds, must now understand that the same prescription they give to others to reduce their debt applies equally to them.  If they fail to do so, the irresponsible dysfunction of their system will continue year after year. 

In the meantime, other governments should take every precaution to safeguard their countries from the extremes to which the Republican Party appears ready to go – even to the point of using weapons of mass financial destruction within their own borders.

Sir Ronald Sanders is a Consultant, Senior Research Fellow at London University and a former Caribbean diplomat.

 

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14 Comments In This Article   

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RE: US Republicans Using Weapons of Mass Financial Destruction

#14 SlyThatGuy » 2013-10-07 10:49

I am glad you pointed out the various negative ways in which the shutting down of the US Government will impact the Caribbean countries, including our country, Antigua and Barbuda. The sad thing is when that reality starts to take effect and people here begin to feel the squeeze, they're going to turn to the UPP Government and blame them for it--just as they're doing now about the squeeze caused by the Global Financial Crisis. So, watch out...,Mr.Prime Minister.
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@joe grind

#13 oversee » 2013-10-07 07:40

Obama causes this problem by constantly giving out free money to minorities to win votes. THAT is how he got elected..
Wrong. He was elected by the majority of the electorate.
Where are the free money handout offices? Tell me -quick!
Republicans always sing the song "stand on your own feet". Since Obamacare requires everyone to have health insurance then no one will be paying for someone else's health insurance, correct? If so, then that surely is 'standing on your own feet'.
Republicans are the working backbone of the USA, you say! Here's some news for you: Democrats also work hard too.
Republicans have been resisting the introduction of Health Insurance for all since 1945. Medicare and Medicaid are hard won gains for the Democrats and are now a popular part of the Medical institution. Presidents Truman, Johnson and Clinton all failed, thanks to the Republicans, to implement an Affordable Care Act and now President Obama has done so after a long and bruising struggle. Nobody is saying Obama is great because he is black but you must admit there is an element of racism here, not totally, but it's there and you know it perfectly well.
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@joe

#12 PROUD DEMOCRAT » 2013-10-07 05:50

I forgot to add the progressive link below. This is what we plan to develop for every american citizen and yes with your help joe the entire universe. This is what is needed using 21st century technologies to help people instead of killing people. Lets do our part and stop wasting time like the wicked Republicans just popping up on the networks all over with talking points and gimmicks.

https://www.healthcare.gov/how-does-the-health-care-law-protect-me/
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@joe grind

#11 PROUD DEMOCRAT » 2013-10-07 05:20

I wished Obama had 2 more terms. If we had 2 more terms the next phase would be FREE HEALTH CARE FOR EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN. That is what makes the US special Putin. We will avoid wars in the future and look for ways to use our wealth to help poorer nations to develop so they too could provide comprehensive FREE HEALT CARE for their citizens. What is wrong with that Joe? President Obama is the best, hardest working President in political business. I also wished that succeeding Presidents would read his textbook and make this world a better place. And YES WE CAN.
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@joe grind

#10 NYC » 2013-10-06 16:24

We are all working democrats with 6 figure salaries because of Obama's innovation that rescued the US economy so come again with substance unlike your Republican captain in the House. You ought to get the message to them that the game is over this time around because the President and I won't budge an inch to stop, reverse, this legal Obama Care.
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Dumycrats

#9 joe grind » 2013-10-06 15:13

Wow, did not know soo many dummycrats read these articles.
How did you all find the free time to get off the welfare lines.
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it's all about ENTITLEMENT...

#8 Jumbee Picknee » 2013-10-06 14:45

It doesn't matter how anyone slices the pie, to dish out the portions, hands out, affordability, it's all about ENTITLEMENT. I have been entwined in the American Culture since I was a child, and have always found that whether it's a physically rich or physically poor individual, there is always the thought, that "I am ENTITLED." The pink/white individual uses this hue as a battering ram to drive home the fact that they're first in line for whatever is been offered. The black/brown individual has the notion, that they are always last in line and only get the crumbs from the pie.
IT'S ALL ABOUT ENTITLEMENT & WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME...the politricktans are just using the People as fodder to advance their personal agendas, and as is always the case, the People are the losers.
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Everyone is entitled to an opinion!

#7 jeb » 2013-10-06 12:59

I am thinking that the provocative remarks made by this author who one has to assume lives in the UK would have had more credence if backed up with verifiable proof. Has the author met any of the tea party or is he a close confidant of republicans to be able to accuse them of being racist or determined to ruin the country in the here claimed mission to crush Obama? This article comes over to this reader as if trying to score points within the Caribbean. If written by a citizen of the United States who is totally familiar with the inner workings of the country, poll numbers on these issues and witnessed who said what I would not comment. Since we more than have a democracy problem meaning lack of in this country perhaps it should always be remembered that the USA is a democratic free country whose constitution is set up to ensure the rights and freedoms of all its’ citizens, therefore, meaning that it is a constitutional right to be either democrat, republican or independent and be respected for same as being their constitutional right. For those who don’t like the system there is always the freedom to leave and go find a suitable dictatorship somewhere.
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@ joe grind

#6 Hawkins » 2013-10-06 10:10

How uninformed and ignorant you are. The author in right on point, all this is blackmail because of the advent of Obamacare and the fact that the president driving this programmer is black. It's so sad to imagine that people like you out there spouting these ridiculous opinions. Take my advice, you need to read, read, read and be able think broadly.
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RE: US Republicans Using Weapons of Mass Financial Destruction

#5 skyewill » 2013-10-06 09:26

As a Military Veteran I can truly say Obama is the best president a veteran ever had. Our disability systems has speeded up. Our Medical and health care has improved and our hospitals, education benefits are the best they ever been. Obama won the election and the republicans lost twice to him. His health care plan was challenged at the supreme court and it was found constitutional by a mostly conservative court. HE WON and now everyone in America can have affordable health care. Rich or poor, sick and healthy you get help when you are sick. The healthcare system was taking 20 cents of every dollar made and that in itself was a drain on the economy. Obamacare passed because the majority wanted it and Republicans who pledge to hurt this president because he is black is trying to hold the entire county hostage because they still cant get over the A$$ kicking the got from a black guy. When you loose you don't get to call the shots. Why should the president bow to those losers? Come next mid term election there will be less Republicans in congress.
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2 joe grind

#4 WISDOM » 2013-10-06 09:12

You are an idiot of the very highest ignorant order! Where on God's earth you get off making those silly statements without a thread of fact? Facts: Obama had to save the US economy that your republican president G. Bush left in a mess because of giving BIG Business Billions in Tax breaks, and allowing Wall Street to Rob Poor people blind without anyone going to jail.

Are you implying that the White Republicans' policies and war bent initiatives are good because they are white? That BS won't move anyone from the Caribbean. We are not as foolish and unaware of the deep racism that informed you kind of unfounded thinking. You are talking about Healthcare for the poor? Go do some research. It is the insurance companies and pharmaceuticals that have driven healthcare through the roof. Since when you can separate the republican working class from the democratic working class/ You fool. There are only two cl** in the US, the working cl** that knows no color and the wealthy class the needs fools like you to peddle BS so that they can stay rich while you remain permanently poor. Read and learn please...
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@Joe Grind

#3 PROUD DEMOCRAT » 2013-10-06 08:54

Its all about ObamaCare. View this video and come again.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx2scvIFGjE
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@joe grind

#2 NYC » 2013-10-06 08:37

Ron is on point. This SHUT DOWN WILL HARM OUR TOURIST INDUSTRY. Where were you and your Tea Party clowns over the past 15 years? Did you just wake up from your slumber? It was the REPUBLICANS under your dumb leader George W. Bush that wrecked the US economy and now his wicked hawks SHUT DOWN the government because they hate to see a black president do something great like ObamaCare. Now my poor neighbor cant by milk and will soon riot if this continues. Where were these RN hawks during the Bush and Cheney era where HB milked/robbed the government of Trillions of dollars supplying imaginary contractors during the illegal Iraq war? Please fold up your bed and go back to sleep.
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Rubbish my ...

#1 joe grind » 2013-10-06 07:55

This article is rubbish and is another one sided pro-democrat opinion.

Obama causes this problem by constantly giving out free money to minorities to win votes. THAT is how he got elected.
For the firs time in history America has more then 50% lazy minorities voting for free stuff then the working class. This one sided way will continue to destroy America until the whole country is a democrats socialist society wanting something for nothing.

How long do you continue to give out welfare?
Obama care - affordable care act makes it cheaper for minorities to get health care. OK, WHO then pays the tab for this cheep care. REPUBLICANS working class will have to pick up the extra tab - get it!! This is why republicans are AGAINST this bill because the working class will eventually pay more for health care.

Republicans are the working back bone of the USA.
Democrats are the ones with the hand out.

People of the Caribbean need to know this.
STOP thinking Obama is great just because he is black.
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Sir Ronald Sanders

Sir Ronald Sanders is a business executive and former Caribbean diplomat who publishes widely on Small States in the global community.

 

 

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